I noticed that people that eat a diet high in red meat look much older than what their age is. They gray and wrinkle faster and have big pot bellies. I notice that populations that eat a more plant based diet of nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables and starchy tubers with a little animal protein every now and than age better. They tend to look younger, not sure if it's genetic. I'm talking about the Okinawans and Kitavans. They live really long and look younger for their age. I think that too much animal protein in the diet is to blame. I know that fat and protein are essential, but too much can be a bad thing right?
I think that, in general, high-meat eaters and SAD eaters get lumped together. Many of the plant eating populations who get written up frequently (ie. kitivans and obkinawans) tend to eat whole-food, VEGETABLE (not grain) based diets. Populations with high meat consumption whO are typically written up are "western" countries with diets high in refined grains, sugar, seed oils and other additives.
Personally, i dont know anyone who has been eating a health-conscious/high meat (paleo) diet for more than a few years But I know plenty of long term (2+ decades) vegetarians... They tend to age about the same as everyone else: some emaciated, some fat, some athletic.
To my knowledge, there has never been a study comparing health-conscious meat eaters with vegetarians. But I'd love to see the results!
The meat eaters I know look better and feel better than vegetarians I know, who often have an emaciated, lean but no muscle look.
Regardless, it isn't just about meat or no meat, it's about whole foods, and movement, and what you don't eat as much as what you do eat. So, I guess we're at a stalemate with our seemingly objective opinions.
I think there may be something to the idea that high intake of dietary iron, particularly heme iron found in abundantly in red meat, may promote (rather than cause) oxidative stress. That's why when I go through periods of eating lots of red meat I like to check my hematocrit levels to make sure my iron isn't getting too high.
I'm don't think people should avoid red meat for this reason, it's just something to be aware of. It often seems no food is truly without its potential drawbacks, primarily when excessive amounts are consumed.
I have noticed that for people in the same demographic group (income/education/politics) when they are younger it is hard to tell, but by the time they are in their forties and fifties, the vegetarians look much older. Specifically, they looked dried out..much more wrinkley and no longer luscious. I see a lot in my town which contains mostly liberal vegetarian MA or PhD runners and cyclists who care deeply about what they eat and have their entire adult lives.
I'm a 40+ year old Paleo (for 3 months). I hang out with the granola crowd because I used to be low meat flexatarian, though I did spend a couple of years as a vegetarian and tried really hard to be a vegan. Anyway, many of my vegetarian friends look very gray and wrinkled on their faces now. Many are chubby around the waist, skinny fat. A few are very thin but constantly worry about their daily caloric intake and do chronic cardio.
I'm rather muscular next to them, not necessarily great esthetically speaking, for a middle aged woman. I would personally prefer the thin waif ish body but, on the other hand, i feel great and have no wrinkles on my face.
Firstly, Kitavans look younger for their respective ages? I would have to disagree. Also, don't forget, the average height of a Kitavan is 5'2" -- 5'4" males, 5'1" females.
Secondly, it's a myth that Okinawans are vegetarian rice-eaters. While rice is part of their diet, if you were to discern the main components of their diets it would be fish and sweet potatoes. I know some "vegetarians" that call themselves vegetarians and eat fish ("I just don't eat red meat"), but they are definitely not vegetarians (pescetarians at best).
Thirdly, you have an interesting hypothesis, but n=1 doesn't work when making general statements about various cultures.
Now, all in all, I would have to disagree with your hypothesis. Healthy seeming people eat animals; fact. Some vegetarians are healthy seeming, too; fact. However, if you factor in those things we know to be unhealthy -- sugars, processed oils, processed meats, then a better hypothesis would be that SAD eaters should seem the least healthy, vegetarians somewhat better, and paleo/traditional eaters somewhat better than that. My own observations of people tends to jive with this.
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